High Plains Grifters
The Big Rich:
The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes
by Bryan Burrough
$29.95 List Price
Texas has long had a jujitsu hold on the American psyche. Residents of other states share a combined revulsion and admiration for the Lone Star State, the only member of the union that—stop me if you’ve heard this—was a country before it was a state. For the most part, this wariness is mutual, as one can quickly gather from the occasional pickup-truck bumper sticker bearing an image of the Texas flag with secede stenciled over the top—an odd posture for a resident of the state recently governed by the last occupant of the Oval Office.
Much of this ambivalence is of a piece with the distrust many Americans feel for the state’s powerful energy industry. Witness, for example, the tiresome reemergence ofT. Boone Pickens, the Dallas billionaire who’s launched a multimedia campaign for the Pickens Plan, a wind-farming
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